Case study

Ellen's Masters opens the door to fighting financial crime

Financial crime funds drug dealing, human trafficking and terrorism, among others. Ellen Collum is helping to tackle these in her graduate role as a compliance officer at Santander.

Time to decide

Ellen joined the bank after completing two degrees at Derby – BSc (Hons) Criminology and then MSc Criminal Investigation. “I enjoyed the Criminology degree so much that I simply wasn’t ready to stop learning,” she explains. “I was also very unsure of the specific career path that I wanted to take. Thanks to the Masters – and more specifically the modules covering financial crime – I now know.”

Ellen finds the work at Santander ‘unbelievably rewarding’. “Financial crime funds a wide range of criminal activities that put people like you and me at risk every single day. Knowing that I am helping to disrupt, detect and deter this is the most rewarding part of the job.”

Specialist skills

Masters study allowed Ellen to develop specialist knowledge: “I learned skills and investigative methods that I am now applying in my current role. My job involves anti money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism. We covered these in depth on the course. I believe that having this niche knowledge helped me massively when I applied to Santander.”

Support is key

Staying at Derby for her postgraduate studies was not a difficult decision for Ellen: “I was so happy at Derby that I didn’t consider any other universities. A key reason was the support of the lecturers; my postgraduate course was on the same site as my first degree with some of the same lecturers. This was so nice as my fellow students and I had bonded so well with them. On top of this, the discount given to students who progress to a masters at Derby was too good to miss.”

Criminal Investigation graduate Ellen Collum

I do not believe that I would have achieved what I have today without the University of Derby and all the support the lecturers have given me over the years.

Ellen Collum
MSc Criminal Investigation graduate

Looking forward

It’s early days for Ellen at Santander and she’s keen to see how her career will unfold: “During my training I will have three placements in three separate financial crime departments. Doing this will help me to pinpoint where I would like to take my career. I can’t wait to see what the future holds with Santander.”

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